Imagine for a moment that you and your musician friends started a “song of the week” initiative, where each of you wrote and recorded a song every week. Seems like a bit of a time crunch, no? Well, maybe, but this time crunch is what drove Ontario-native Geordie Gordon to create his debut solo album, The Tower, which hits streaming services tomorrow, September 3rd.
Being born into a folk music family, it comes as no surprise that Gordon is a talented multi-instrumentalist. In his youth and adolescence, he had free rein over not only his father’s multitude of instruments, but also over his family’s home recording studio called Pipe Street. It was there that he developed his music engineering skills and the independence required to actualize his artistic vision.
Gordon is also no stranger to collaboration.
Musical cornerstone of groups such as Islands, U.S. Girls, and The Magic, he was preparing for months of touring and promoting U.S. Girls’ newly-released album, Heavy Light. That is, until the world came to a halt at the onset of a dystopian global pandemic. Instead, he was left with no choice but to isolate in his small Toronto apartment. With a small collection of gear and a large amount of free time, The Tower was born.
Opening The Tower is “The Great Divide” which, although rhythmically driven by percussion and keys, is quite a lyrically somber track. It’s a tune all about longing to lessen the distance between us in a time where distance is inevitable. This track, inspired by Gordon’s travels around the world, immediately evokes euphoric imagery of a world where we might not have to maintain six feet between one another. It urges the listener to appreciate their ability to experience and take care of the people and places all around them.
“4-Track” is a playful, upbeat indie folk-pop tune with warm vocals and a breezy, surf-rock feel; the kind of song one might put on in their car and aimlessly drive around to. The inspiration behind the single comes from Gordon’s musical youth, where he would make experimental recordings on a 4-track cassette recorder. The song is a nod to the innocence of making music for fun as a kid. In addition, the pensive lyrical content refers to the difficulty of maintaining a romantic relationship. According to Gordon, the song is all about “the regrets one can have looking back at either”.
Songs like “No Way to Know” and “Love and Electricity” are mellow and synth-laden with full-sounding layered vocals, reminding me of Beach House or Clairo. My favorite track, “Best Laid Plans”, is reminiscent of 70’s funk and soul with a John Mayer-like summertime sound.
Written, recorded, and mixed entirely by Gordon himself, the 10-track release has all the ingredients: lush, dream-like synths, driving percussive beats, rich guitar melodies, intimate vocals, and the thoughtful reflection of a year that none of us will ever forget. In The Tower, Gordon invites us into his tiny Toronto apartment and through him, we contemplate disconnection, tragedy, nostalgia, hope, and, perhaps most importantly, love.